In case you're still wondering whether to take one of the many classes that Adrian and Amanda Costa are giving while they're here, I've taken a few and this is what I know about them.
- They're very nice and intelligent teachers.
- They give a high priority to basics, to social dancing, and really practical things like advice on how to avoid bumps. I blogged about two of their classes in March.
- Their classes are given in English. Their English is not bad and has been getting steadily better - knowledge of French or Spanish may still be useful to get the most out of a class, I sometimes found myself back-translating to work out what was meant by a word that wasn't the one Adrian had been looking for, but it's probably not necessary any more.
- The advice they give about dancing to the music is clear and definite and a useful place to start - of course there are other ways, but at least you will have had one possible good one explained to you in a way you can work with.
- They talk to the women quite a lot more, and more helpfully, than average, and Amanda acts like an equal in the class, not like an assistant.
- They're absolutely beautiful to watch and they always improvise every performance and never look artificial, boring or pretentious. Their performances are worth the time and money.
This is not necessarily my personal favourite style, though it is one of the ones I enjoy, but being able to do this fluid embrace is an extremely useful skill for dancing here in London, especially for women. Men might not need to learn it unless it appeals to them (though if you habitually dance open-embrace it will help you do that better and give you a lot more choices), but as a woman I've found it indispensable. The woman has to be very active about it and know what she is doing, there are a few tricks to it that you should get Amanda to show you if you have the chance, but it allows you to have a successful dance with a lot of different partners in a lot of different styles, and that in itself is something that helps you get a lot of practice and increase your physical skill level rapidly. I've also discovered that this skill is transferable to jive and salsa, so it's very good value for money.